Richard Mille Interview with Alexis Pinturault
WorldTempus chats with the French World Cup alpine ski champion about what it takes to become a champion, coping with fear, and the next big goal
Alexis Pinturault is a household name in his native France. Listing his medals could fill this page alone, but to sum up, he has stood on World Cup podiums 52 times, 21 of which have been on the top step.
He has been a Richard Mille partner since 2014, helping the brand to test watches that he isn’t afraid to bash against the gates as he hurtles down the mountain at speeds exceeding 100km/h. We sit down with him in his family’s hotel in Courchevel during the Richard Mille Ski Clinic to learn more about his exceptional career.
Alexis Pinturault © Richard Mille
Can you tell us how you started to work with Richard Mille?
Our relationship started seven years ago. In the beginning, I was wearing the RM 035 Rafael Nadal which was the first chronofiable certified. And then they worked on this watch (pointing to the RM 67-02 Automatic Alexis Pinturault on his wrist), which is a little bit lighter and really convenient to wear. After working on the weight only 32g and the thickness, we discussed the colour and chose the white carbon TPT ® for the case and the colours of the French flag for the dial. Altogether, it is a number of details that make it the best watch for me.
RM 67-02 © Richard Mille
You also test watches for the brand. How many have you broken?
I can’t remember, but it must be around five or six. Sometimes it is the straps that break. This is actually the goal. Athletes are the best testers as we are always evolving in really complicated and demanding disciplines. This is especially true for me as I also have direct contact with the gate coming straight on the watch.
How much of what you do is mental preparation?
In all these races you have to be in the zone and focus on your performance. And of course, in the downhill, there is the scary side too because of how challenging it is.
Do you get scared sometimes?
Yes, especially when it is a new slope that you don’t know. You are discovering it and this comes with fear because you have lots of questions.
RM 67-02 © Richard Mille
Do you have a routine before racing?
No. There are a lot of athletes who are very strict in this sense. When they do something good, they don’t want to change anything, but actually, I would say that your best performance always comes when you are changing things, when you aren’t scared to change the way you train, the way you want to improve yourself, etc.
How do you stay focused?
It is never easy and some years are more complicated than others. My goal is to always try and find pleasure in my sporting activities. The day that I am not having fun is the day I will stop.
Was it a childhood dream for you to become a professional skier?
I was always dreaming about becoming a professional athlete, but not necessarily a skier, it could have been a soccer player, or a tennis player. I was more thinking about being a professional athlete, but I didn’t know which sport back then.
How did you get into it?
My grandparents built this hotel Hotel Annapurna and then my father took over the business so this is where I grew up and where I started skiing. I did a lot of different sports as a kid and soccer and alpine skiing were the main ones. When I was 15 years old, I had to decide and I chose skiing; it was the more obvious choice. With soccer, you have to be spotted by someone else, whereas in skiing my results were enough to enter the National Ski School. I also think that individual sports suited me better than team sports.
Johannes Thingnes Bø - Alexis Pinturault © Richard Mille
How do you manage frustrations when things don’t go as you would like them to?
You have to focus on what you did wrong, you have to analyze the competition, what worked, and what didn’t. That’s the most important thing. When you do this, you are quicker to figure things out and fix them for the next day. This process helps you to put it behind you too,; athletes always need to stay really positive, even when it isn’t working out.
You have achieved so much already, what’s the next big dream for you?
I would like to continue winning some races, to be able to compete for victories, and stay at the top of my sport. Coming back after this winter was hard for me. I had one of my worse seasons in 10 years. I still had a couple of podiums, but I want to get back to my highest level.
That’s a very good goal to have! We certainly look forward to watching you do that next season.
Richard Mille did not simply try to find his place in the watchmaking world – he carved one out for himself, constantly striving not to take anything for granted, and to make innovation and extreme technical prowess his driving forces.Find out more >
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